More Italo-horror: The Good, the Bad and the Gory

Nevenka (Daliah Lavi) is trapped in a sado-masochistic relationship in Mario Bava's The Whip and the Body (1963)

Several new (and a couple of slightly older ) releases restore a range of Italian horrors from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, including a pair of artless movies by Bruno Mattei, Hell of the Living Dead (1980) and Rats: Night of Terror (1984); one of Mario Bava’s finest (and most perverse) Gothics, The Whip and the Body (1963), as well as his final made-for-television work, La Venere d’Ille (1979), co-directed by his son Lamberto; and a 4K restoration of Lucio Fulci’s gore masterpiece City of the Living Dead (1980).

Year End 2022

Marcel and Nana Connie gardening in Dean Fleischer-Camp's Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2021)

It’s that time of year, and as usual coming up with a “best of” list – having seen somewhere around five-hundred movies in 2022 – seems impossible; so here are just a few which remained vivid in my memory, plus an unexpected and charming movie with which I ended a stressful year.

Summer grab-bag, part three: Vinegar Syndrome partners

Casey (Anna Cobb) looks for validation and friendship on the Internet in Jane Schoenbrun's We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021)

In addition to their own regular schedule of releases, Vinegar Syndrome serves as an umbrella for an eclectic (and seemingly ever-growing) collection of small labels, many of which specialize in titles so far out on the fringe that their appeal lies in their strangeness and sheer audacity — like Pathogen (2006), a zombie movie made by 12-year-old schoolgirl Emily Hagins, or Final Flesh (2009), an experiment in which copies of a script were sent to producers of on-demand fetish porn who were free to film Vernon Chatman’s absurd apocalyptic family drama however they saw fit. The latest batch I received includes these, plus a sordid made-in-Florida slice of exploitation called Satan’s Children (1975), the faux ’80s local TV broadcast WNUF Halloween Special (2013), and a pair of more polished movies closer to the mainstream: Out of Order (1984), a claustrophobic German thriller about four people trapped in an elevator, and We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021), about an isolated teenager seeking connection in a potentially dangerous on-line cult.

Blasts from the past

The pleasures of hand-made animation

Dreams of Dracula

DVD Review: The Disco Exorcist (2011)

Thorold Dickinson

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